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Title 30Chapter VIISubchapter L → Part 843


Title 30: Mineral Resources


PART 843—FEDERAL ENFORCEMENT


Contents
§843.1   Scope.
§843.5   Definitions.
§843.11   Cessation orders.
§843.12   Notices of violation.
§843.13   Suspension or revocation of permits: Pattern of violations.
§843.14   Service of notices of violation, cessation orders, and show cause orders.
§843.15   Informal public hearing.
§843.16   Formal review of citations.
§843.17   Failure to give notice and lack of information.
§843.18   Inability to comply.
§843.20   Compliance conference.
§843.22   Enforcement actions at abandoned sites.
§843.25   Energy Policy Act enforcement in States with approved State programs.

Authority: 30 U.S.C. 1201 et seq.

Source: 47 FR 35637, Aug. 16, 1982, unless otherwise noted.

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§843.1   Scope.

This part sets forth general rules regarding enforcement by the Office of the Act, this chapter, any Federal program, the Federal lands program, State programs being enforced by the Office in whole or in part under section 504(b) or 521(b) of the Act and part 733 of this chapter and (in limited circumstances) under §842.11 or §842.12 of this chapter, and all conditions of permits and coal exploration approvals or permits imposed under any of these programs, the Act, or this chapter.

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§843.5   Definitions.

As used in this part, the following terms have the specified meanings:

Unwarranted failure to comply means the failure of a permittee to prevent the occurrence of any violation of his or her permit or any requirement of the Act due to indifference, lack of diligence, or lack of reasonable care, or the failure to abate any violation of such permit of the Act due to indifference, lack of diligence, or lack of reasonable care.

[47 FR 35637, Aug. 16, 1982, as amended at 65 FR 79670, Dec. 19, 2000]

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§843.11   Cessation orders.

(a)(1) An authorized representative of the Secretary shall immediately order a cessation of surface coal mining and reclamation operations or of the relevant portion thereof, if he or she finds, on the basis of any Federal inspection, any condition or practice, or any violation of the Act, this chapter, any applicable program, or any condition of an exploration approval or permit imposed under any such program, the Act, or this chapter which:

(i) Creates an imminent danger to the health or safety of the public; or

(ii) Is causing or can reasonably be expected to cause significant, imminent environmental harm to land, air, or water resources.

(2) Surface coal mining operations conducted by any person without a valid surface coal mining permit constitute a condition or practice which causes or can reasonably be expected to cause significant imminent environmental harm to land, air, or water resources unless such operations:

(i) Are an integral, uninterrupted extension of previously permitted operations, and the person conducting such operations has filed a timely and complete application for a permit to conduct such operations; or

(ii) Were conducted lawfully without a permit under the interim regulatory program because no permit has been required for such operations by the State in which the operations were conducted.

(3) If the cessation ordered under paragraph (a)(1) of this section will not completely abate the imminent danger or harm in the most expeditious manner physically possible, the authorized representative of the Secretary shall impose affirmative obligations on the permittee to abate the imminent danger or significant environmental harm. The order shall specify the time by which abatement shall be accomplished.

(b)(1) When a notice of violation has been issued under §843.12(a) and the permittee fails to abate the violation within the abatement period fixed or subsequently extended by the authorized representative, the authorized representative of the Secretary shall immediately order a cessation of coal exploration or surface coal mining and reclamation operations, or of the portion relevant to the violation.

(2) A cessation order issued under this paragraph (b) shall require the permittee to take all steps the authorized representative of the Secretary deems necessary to abate the violations covered by the order in the most expeditious manner physically possible.

(c) A cessation order issued under paragraphs (a) or (b) of this section shall be in writing, signed by the authorized representative who issues it, and shall set forth with reasonable specificity: (1) The nature of the condition, practice or violation; (2) the remedial action or affirmative obligation required, if any, including interim steps, if appropriate; (3) the time established for abatement, if appropriate; and (4) a reasonable description of the portion of the coal exploration or surface coal mining and reclamation operation to which it applies. The order shall remain in effect until the condition, practice or violation resulting in the issuance of the cessation order has been abated or until vacated, modified or terminated in writing by an authorized representative of the Secretary, or until the order expires pursuant to section 521(a)(5) of the Act and §843.15.

(d) Reclamation operations and other activities intended to protect public health and safety and the environment shall continue during the period of any order unless otherwise provided in the order.

(e) An authorized representative of the Secretary may modify, terminate or vacate a cessation order for good cause, and may extend the time for abatement if the failure to abate within the time previously set was not caused by lack of diligence on the part of the permittee.

(f) An authorized representative of the Secretary shall terminate a cessation order by written notice to the permittee when he or she determines that all conditions, practices or violations listed in the order have been abated. Termination shall not affect the right of the Office to assess civil penalties for those violations under part 845 of this chapter.

(g) Within 60 days after issuing a cessation order, OSM will notify in writing the permittee, the operator, and any person who has been listed or identified by the applicant, permittee, or OSM as an owner or controller of the operation, as defined in §701.5 of this chapter.

[47 FR 35637, Aug. 16, 1982, as amended at 54 FR 8992, Mar. 2, 1989; 54 FR 13823, Apr. 5, 1989; 62 FR 19461, Apr. 21, 1997; 65 FR 79670, Dec. 19, 2000]

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§843.12   Notices of violation.

(a)(1) An authorized representative of the Secretary shall issue a notice of violation if, on the basis of a Federal inspection carried out during the enforcement of a Federal program or Federal lands program or during Federal enforcement of a State program under section 504(b) or 521(b) of the Act and part 733 of this chapter, he finds a violation of the Act, this chapter, the applicable program or any condition of a permit or an exploration approval imposed under such program, the Act, or this Chapter, which does not create an imminent danger or harm for which a cessation order must be issued under §843.11.

(2) When, on the basis of any Federal inspection other than one described in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, an authorized representative of the Secretary determines that there exists a violation of the Act, the State program, or any condition of a permit or exploration approval required by the Act which does not create an imminent danger or harm for which a cessation order must be issued under §843.11, the authorized representative shall give a written report of the violation to the State and to the permittee so that appropriate action can be taken by the State. Where the State fails within ten days after notification to take appropriate action to cause the violation to be corrected, or to show good cause for such failure, subject to the procedures of §842.11(b)(1)(iii) of this chapter, the authorized representative shall reinspect and, if the violation continues to exist, shall issue a notice of violation or cessation order, as appropriate. No additional notification to the State by the Office is required before the issuance of a notice of violation if previous notification was given under §842.11(b)(1)(ii)(B) of this chapter.

(b) A notice of violation issued under this section shall be in writing signed by the authorized representative who issues it, and shall set forth with reasonable specificity:

(1) The nature of the violation;

(2) The remedial action required, which may include interim steps;

(3) A reasonable time for abatement, which may include time for accomplishment of interim steps; and

(4) A reasonable description of the portion of the coal exploration or surface coal mining and reclamation operation to which it applies.

(c) An authorized representative of the Secretary may extend the time set for abatement or for accomplishment of an interim step, if the failure to meet the time previously set was not caused by lack of diligence on the part of the permittee. The total time for abatement under a notice of violation, including all extensions, shall not exceed 90 days from the date of issuance, except upon a showing by the permittee that it is not feasible to abate the violation within 90 calendar days due to one or more of the circumstances in paragraph (f) of this section. An extended abatement date pursuant to this section shall not be granted when the permittee's failure to abate within 90 days has been caused by a lack of diligence or intentional delay by the permittee in completing the remedial action required.

(d)(1) If the permittee fails to meet the time set for abatement the authorized representative shall issue a cessation order under §843.11(b).

(2) If the permittee fails to meet the time set for accomplishment of any interim step the authorized representative may issue a cessation order under §843.11(b).

(e) An authorized representative of the Secretary shall terminate a notice of violation by written notice to the permittee when he determines that all violations listed in the notice of violation have been abated. Termination shall not affect the right of the Office to assess civil penalties for those violations under 30 CFR part 845.

(f) Circumstances which may qualify a surface coal mining operation for an abatement period of more than 90 days are:

(1) Where the permittee of an ongoing permitted operation has timely applied for and diligently pursued a permit renewal or other necessary approval of designs or plans but such permit or approval has not been or will not be issued within 90 days after a valid permit expires or is required, for reasons not within the control of the permittee;

(2) Where there is a valid judicial order precluding abatement within 90 days as to which the permittee has diligently pursued all rights of appeal and as to which he or she has no other effective legal remedy;

(3) Where the permittee cannot abate within 90 days due to a labor strike;

(4) Where climatic conditions preclude abatement within 90 days, or where, due to climatic conditions, abatement within 90 days clearly would cause more environmental harm than it would prevent; or

(5) Where abatement within 90 days requires action that would violate safety standards established by statute or regulation under the Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977.

(g) Whenever an abatement time in excess of 90 days is permitted, interim abatement measures shall be imposed to the extent necessary to minimize harm to the public or the environment.

(h) If any of the conditions in paragraph (f) of this section exists, the permittee may request the authorized representative to grant an abatement period exceeding 90 days. The authorized representative shall not grant such an abatement period without the concurrence of the Director or his or her designee and the abatement period granted shall not exceed the shortest possible time necessary to abate the violation. The permittee shall have the burden of establishing by clear and convincing proof that he or she is entitled to an extension under the provisions of §843.12(c) and (f). In determining whether or not to grant an abatement period exceeding 90 days the authorized representative may consider any relevant written or oral information from the permittee or any other source. The authorized representative shall promptly and fully document in the file his or her reasons for granting or denying the request. The authorized representative's immediate supervisor shall review this document before concurring in or disapproving the extended abatement date and shall promptly and fully document the reasons for his or her concurrence or disapproval in the file.

(i) Any determination made under paragraph (h) of this section shall contain a right of appeal to the Office of Hearings and Appeals in accordance with 43 CFR 4.1281 and the regulations at 43 CFR part 4.

(j) No extension granted under paragraph (h) of this section may exceed 90 days in length. Where the condition or circumstance which prevented abatement within 90 days exists at the expiration of any such extension, the permittee may request a further extension in accordance with the procedures of paragraph (h) of this section.

[47 FR 35637, Aug. 16, 1982, as amended at 53 FR 26744, July 14, 1988]

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§843.13   Suspension or revocation of permits: Pattern of violations.

(a)(1) The Director shall issue an order to a permittee requiring him or her to show cause why his or her permit and right to mine under the Act should not be suspended or revoked, if the Director determines that a pattern of violations of any requirements of the Act, this chapter, the applicable program, or any permit condition required by the Act exists or has existed, and that the violations were caused by the permittee willfully or through unwarranted failure to comply with those requirements or conditions. Violations by any person conducting surface coal mining operations on behalf of the permittee shall be attributed to the permittee, unless the permittee establishes that they were acts of deliberate sabotage. The Director shall promptly file a copy of any order to show cause with the Office of Hearings and Appeals and the State regulatory authority, if any.

(2) The Director may determine that a pattern of violations exists or has existed, based upon two or more Federal inspections of the permit area within any 12-month period, after considering the circumstances, including:

(i) The number of violations, cited on more than one occasion, of the same or related requirements of the Act, this chapter, the applicable program, or the permit;

(ii) The number of violations, cited on more than one occasion, of different requirements of the Act, this chapter, the applicable program, or the permit; and

(iii) The extent to which the violations were isolated departures from lawful conduct.

(3) The Director shall promptly review the history of violations of any permittee who has been cited for violations of the same or related requirements of the Act, this chapter, the applicable program, or the permit during three or more Federal inspections of the permit area within any 12-month period. If, after such review, the Director determines that a pattern of violations exists or has existed, he or she shall issue an order to show cause as provided in paragraph (a)(1) of this section.

(4)(i) In determining the number of violations within any 12-month period, the Director shall consider only violations issued as a result of a Federal inspection carried out—

(A) During enforcement of a Federal program or a Federal lands program;

(B) During the interim program and before the applicable State program was approved pursuant to section 502 or 504 of the Act; or

(C) During Federal enforcement of a State program in accordance with section 504(b) or 521(b) of the Act.

(ii) The Director may not consider violations issued as a result of inspections other than those mentioned in paragraph (a)(4)(i) of this section in determining whether to exercise his or her discretion under paragraph (a)(2) of this section, except as evidence of the willful or unwarranted nature of the permittee's failure to comply.

(b) If the permittee files an answer to the show cause order and requests a hearing under 43 CFR part 4, a public hearing shall be provided as set forth in that part. The Office of Hearings and Appeals shall give thirty days written notice of the date, time and place of the hearing to the Director, the permittee, the State regulatory authority, if any, and any intervenor. Upon receipt of the notice, the Director shall publish it, if practicable, in a newspaper of general circulation in the area of the surface coal mining and reclamation operations, and shall post it at the State or field office closest to those operations.

(c) Within sixty days after the hearing, and within the time limits set forth in 43 CFR part 4, the Office of Hearings and Appeals shall issue a written determination as to whether a pattern of violations exists and, if appropriate, an order. If the Office of Hearings and Appeals revokes or suspends the permit and the permittee's right to mine under the Act, the permittee shall immediately cease surface coal mining operations on the permit area and shall:

(1) If the permit and the right to mine under the Act are revoked, complete reclamation within the time specified in the order; or

(2) If the permit and the right to mine under the Act are suspended, complete all affirmative obligations to abate all conditions, practices, or violations as specified in the order.

(d) Whenever a permittee fails to abate a violation contained in a notice of violation or cessation order within the abatement period set in the notice or order or as subsequently extended, the Director shall review the permittee's history of violations to determine whether a pattern of violations exists pursuant to this section, and shall issue an order to show cause as appropriate pursuant to §845.15(b)(2) of this chapter.

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§843.14   Service of notices of violation, cessation orders, and show cause orders.

(a) A notice of violation, cessation order, or show cause order shall be served on the person to whom it is directed or his or her designated agent promptly after issuance, as follows:

(1) By tendering a copy at the coal exploration or surface coal mining and reclamation operation to the designated agent or to the individual who, based upon reasonable inquiry, appears to be in charge. If no such individual can be located at the site, a copy may be tendered to any individual at the site who appears to be an employee or agent of the person to whom the notice or order is issued. Service shall be complete upon tender of the notice or order and shall not be deemed incomplete because of refusal to accept.

(2) As an alternative to paragraph (a)(1) of this section, service may be made by sending a copy of the notice or order by certified mail or by hand to the permittee or his or her designated agent, or by any means consistent with the rules governing service of a summons and complaint under rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Service shall be complete upon tender of the notice or order or of the certified mail and shall not be deemed incomplete because of refusal to accept.

(b) Designation by any person of an agent for service of notices and orders shall be made in writing to the appropriate State or field office of the Office.

(c) The Office shall furnish copies of notices and orders to the State regulatory authority, if any, promptly after their issuance. The Office may furnish copies to any person having an interest in the coal exploration, surface coal mining and reclamation operation, or the permit area.

[47 FR 35637, Aug. 16, 1982, as amended at 56 FR 28445, June 20, 1991]

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§843.15   Informal public hearing.

(a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section, a notice of violation or cessation order which requires cessation of mining, expressly or by necessary implication, shall expire within 30 days after it is served unless an informal public hearing has been held within that time. The hearing shall be held at or reasonably close to the mine site so that it may be viewed during the hearing or at any other location acceptable to the Office and the person to whom the notice or order was issued. The Office of Surface Mining office nearest to the mine site shall be deemed to be reasonably close to the mine site unless a closer location is requested and agreed to by the Office. Expiration of a notice or order shall not affect the Office's right to assess civil penalties with respect to the period during which the notice or order was in effect. No hearing will be required where the condition, practice, or violation in question has been abated or the hearing has been waived. For purposes of this section only, “mining” includes (1) extracting coal from the earth or from coal waste piles and transporting it within or from the permit area, and (2) the processing, cleaning, concentrating, preparing or loading of coal where such operations occur at a place other than at a mine site.

(b) A notice of violation or cessation order shall not expire as provided in paragraph (a) of this section if the informal public hearing has been waived, or if, with the consent of the person to whom the notice or order was issued, the informal public hearing is held later than 30 days after the notice or order was served. For purposes of this subsection:

(1) The informal public hearing will be deemed waived if the person to whom the notice or order was issued:

(i) Is informed, by written notice served in the manner provided in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, that he or she will be deemed to have waived an informal public hearing unless he or she requests one within 30 days after service of the notice; and

(ii) Fails to request an informal public hearing within that time.

(2) The written notice referred to in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section shall be delivered to such person by an authorized representative or sent by certified mail to such person no later than 5 days after the notice or order is served on such person.

(3) The person to whom the notice or order is issued shall be deemed to have consented to an extension of the time for holding the informal public hearing if his or her request is received on or after the 21st day after service of the notice or order. The extension of time shall be equal to the number of days elapsed after the 21st day.

(c) The Office shall give as much advance notice as is practicable of the time, place, and subject matter of the informal public hearing to:

(1) The person to whom the notice or order was issued;

(2) Any person who filed a report which led to that notice or order; and

(3) The State regulatory authority, if any.

(d) The Office shall also post notice of the hearing at the State or field office closest to the mine site and, where practicable, publish it in a newspaper of general circulation in the area of the mine.

(e) Section 554 of Title 5 of the United States Code, regarding requirements for formal adjudicatory hearings, shall not govern informal public hearings. An informal public hearing shall be conducted by a representative of the Office, who may accept oral or written arguments and any other relevant information from any person attending.

(f) Within five days after the close of the informal public hearing, the Office shall affirm, modify, or vacate the notice or order in writing. The decision shall be sent to—

(1) The person to whom the notice or order was issued;

(2) Any person who filed a report which led to the notice or order; and

(3) The State regulatory authority, if any.

(g) The granting or waiver of an informal public hearing shall not affect the right of any person to formal review under section 518(b), 521(a)(4), or 525 of the Act.

(h) The person conducting the hearing for the Office shall determine whether or not the mine site should be viewed during the hearing. In making this determination the only consideration shall be whether a view of the mine site will assist the person conducting the hearing in reviewing the appropriateness of the enforcement action or of the required remedial action.

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§843.16   Formal review of citations.

(a) A person issued a notice of violation or cessation order under §843.11 or §843.12, or a person having an interest which is or may be adversely affected by the issuance, modification, vacation or termination of a notice or order, may request review of that action by filing an application for review and request for hearing under 43 CFR part 4, within 30 days after receiving notice of the action.

(b) The filing of an application for review and request for a hearing under this section shall not operate as a stay of any notice or order, or of any modification, termination or vacation of either.

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§843.17   Failure to give notice and lack of information.

No notice of violation, cessation order, show cause order, or order revoking or suspending a permit may be vacated for failure to give the notice to the State regulatory authority required under §842.11(b)(1)(ii)(B) of this chapter or because it is subsequently determined that the Office did not have information sufficient, under §§842.11(b)(1) and 842.11(b)(2) of this chapter, to justify an inspection.

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§843.18   Inability to comply.

(a) No cessation order or notice of violation issued under this part may be vacated because of inability to comply.

(b) Inability to comply may not be considered in determining whether a pattern of violations exists.

(c) Unless caused by lack of diligence, inability to comply may be considered only in mitigation of the amount of civil penalty under part 845 of this chapter and of the duration of the suspension of a permit under §843.13(c).

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§843.20   Compliance conference.

(a) A permittee may request an on-site compliance conference with an authorized representative to review the compliance status of any condition or practice proposed at any coal exploration or surface coal mining and reclamation operation. Any such conference shall not constitute an inspection within the meaning of section 517 of the Act and §842.11.

(b) The Office may accept or refuse any request to conduct a compliance conference under paragraph (a). Where the Office accepts such a request, reasonable notice of the scheduled date and time of the compliance conference shall be given to the permittee.

(c) The authorized representative at any compliance conference shall review such proposed conditions and practices as the permittee may request in order to determine whether any such condition or practice may become a violation of any requirement of the Act of any applicable permit or exploration approval.

(d) Neither the holding of a compliance conference under this section nor any opinion given by the authorized representative at such a conference shall affect:

(1) Any rights or obligations of the Office or of the permittee with respect to any inspection, notice of violation or cessation order, whether prior or subsequent to such conference; or

(2) The validity of any notice of violation or cessation order issued with respect to any condition or practice reviewed at the compliance conference.

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§843.22   Enforcement actions at abandoned sites.

The Office may refrain from issuing a notice of violation or cessation order for a violation at an abandoned site, as defined in §842.11(e) of this chapter, if abatement of the violation is required under any previously issued notice or order.

[53 FR 24882, June 30, 1988]

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§843.25   Energy Policy Act enforcement in States with approved State programs.

(a) State-by-State determinations. By July 31, 1995, OSM will determine for each State with an approved State regulatory program whether:

(1) Direct Federal enforcement of the Energy Policy Act and implementing Federal regulations will occur under paragraph (b) of this section with respect to some or all surface coal mining operations in each State, or

(2) The procedures of §§843.11 and 843.12(a)(2) will apply to State enforcement of the Energy Policy Act, or

(3) A combination of direct Federal enforcement and State enforcement will occur.

(4) Before making this determination, OSM will consult with each affected State and provide an opportunity for public comment. OSM will publish its determination in the Federal Register.

(b) Interim Federal enforcement. (1) If OSM determines under paragraph (a) that direct Federal enforcement is necessary, §§817.41(j), 817.121(c)(2), and 817.121(c)(4) of this chapter will apply to each underground mining operation subject to that determination that is conducted in a State with an approved State regulatory program.

(2) If OSM determines under paragraph (a) of this section that direct Federal enforcement is necessary, the provisions of §843.12(a)(2) will not apply to direct Federal enforcement actions under this paragraph (b). When, on the basis of any Federal inspection under this paragraph, an authorized representative determines that a violation of §817.41(j) or §817.121(c)(2) exists, the authorized representative must issue a notice of violation or cessation order, as appropriate.

(3) This paragraph (b) will remain effective in a State with an approved State regulatory program until the State adopts, and OSM approves, under part 732 of this chapter, provisions consistent with §§817.41(j) and 817.121(c)(2) of this chapter. After these provisions are approved, this paragraph will remain effective only for violations of §§817.41(j) and 817.121(c)(2) that are not regulated by the State regulatory authority.

[60 FR 16750, Mar. 31, 1995]

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